Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June 5th

Përhsëndetje familja!

Well this week has been super crazy, and a lot of fun. First order of business, we got transfer calls on Friday night. I will be in a trio here in Durrës with Elder Wilson and Elder Ellsworth. I'm super excited that I get to stay with Elder Wilson, and Elder Ellsworth just got out of being Zone Leader so I've gotten to do some exchanges with him and I'm so happy that I get to serve with him. It's kind of funny because Elder Wilson trained Elder Ellsworth and it's not very common that people get to serve with the same companion twice, but we definitely aren't complaining. A ton of things changed in the mission this transfer because we're losing so many missionaries and getting a new mission president. All the missionaries going home got put into trios, and a few areas got closed.

Elder Ellsworth is from Milwaukee Wisconsin. He's been out for a while, he came into the mission 3 months after Elder Wilson, so he should be finishing this fall. He started with Elder Wilson in Tirana, but then he's also served with Elder Cani. He's moved around a lot, until he got to Fier as ZL where he stayed for 7 and a half months. He's a super funny guy and he has an amazing testimony.

Other exciting things, we had mission conference this week. It was an amazing conference, I learned a ton and really felt the spirit. It's going to be so sad to see President Weidmann leave, he's such an amazing person and the spirit is so strong when he speaks. I've learned and grown so much from the time I've had to be with him. Not long ago the standard missionary schedule was changed and now President Weidmann felt inspired to give us a suggested schedule that will allow us to work even harder, and it is really cool. Normally we leave the house at 10 in the morning and get back at 9 at night, but now we get out of the house at 9:30 and stay out until 10. He did this because Albania get's so hot during the day and everyone just goes in to take a nap or is not willing to stop and talk, so now we have the option to take a 1 hour nap and do our studies and take lunch during the super hot part of the day and work when the weather is nicer. Other than that, it was super fun getting to see everyone at mission conference. Also after mission conference we had a little time so I got to go to the teaching center and meet Lindis again! It was awesome getting to see him and get to talk to him. It was also cool because someone named Antonio who I taught that got baptized after I left was there too and I got to say hi to him as well. I took pictures of me and Lindis, but I forgot my camera at the house. We will probably do a little more emailing later though and I'll send them when we do that. 

Then later this week we also had Super Saturday, which is where seminary students from all around Albania came and had presentations and played games. We got to come help, and it was a ton of fun seeing all the people I knew. A lot of people came from Elbasan and Vlorë, I really enjoyed getting to talk with them all again.

So other than that, we've had some cool experiences this week. I met someone on the road named Kristi, he recognized me as a missionary from the LDS church and said that he had actually met with the missionaries for a while about two years ago, but then he went to Italy and didn't keep meeting with them there. He said that he's really interested in our church and that out beliefs go really well with his because he's a Free Mason. That was the first time I've run into any of those, but he's really cool. He said he's studied our church a lot "from the outside" but now he wants to get baptized and go to the temple. We only had one lesson with him that week, but we taught him basically everything. We went through the Plan of Salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then all the commandment lessons. It was kind of crazy but he said that he's already living them all and is really interested. He wasn't able to come to church on Sunday but we should be meeting him again this week and hopefully he'll be able to come this week.
Then we also met with Collin again. He's so cool and I've loved getting to be friends with him. We all read through 3 Nephi and Acts in preparation for that lesson, and it was really cool because he came and just told us how much he loved 3 Nephi chapter 27. He loved how simple it is and how powerfully it's stated. It's been so cool seeing how open he is to learning more. He would be such an amazing member, and I feel like he's so close. He leaves Albania the week after Elder Wilson and then he'll travel through Italy and Switzerland then go home. He said he would love to meet President Weidmann in Switzerland while he's there, so we'll see what we can do about that. 

Also one of our other investigators, Rrapi, was super sick(like he thought he might die) so we gave him a blessing. Then we came back a day or two later and he was up walking around and was completely healed. He said that after the blessing he went to sleep and then the voice of his older brother who passed away a long time ago came to him and told him to stand up and he was completely fine. So that was a really cool experience and he's become a lot more interested in the gospel recently.

Then other than that we've had a lot of stuff to do with moving houses. We still don't have plates or bowls, but we did finally buy some pots and other necessary items. Our washing machine doesn't work, but we have people coming to fix that tomorrow. Today we moved all three beds into one room, and it's a little packed, but it'll be a party. We still have a few problems with electricity/electric outlets, but step by step out house is getting really nice. We're really bad at getting out of bed and exercising in the morning so we decided to just get up and go for a walk every morning. It's been awesome because we live right on the beach and it's super pretty in the morning, it's a small thing but it's really helped me feel awake in the morning. 

I think that's about it for now. Tonight we're going to go help a member move, and that'll be fun. Also now that we're going to be a trio we talked to one of the priests and he said that he'll come do a split with us 3 hours a day every other day, so basically we're about to get so much work done.

I had a great week this week and I'm doing really well. I'm so excited to work with Elder Ellsworth and with Elder Wilson, it's going to be so fun!

I love you all, have a great week! Mirupafshim!
Elder Gardiner

Well I went and got the sd card from the camera and Elder Wilson let me borrow his SD card reader, but turns out the sd card I have doesn't work with his reader. So turns out I will send you those next week. Sorry!

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